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156: Leaders with Heart Care All Year Round

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In this episode, Heather speaks with LaToya Lyn, Vice President of Talent Strategy at Oscar Health. Heather and LaToya begin with a discussion of Black History month and what it means to both of them. Their conversation ranges from activism, to identities, to listening and learning. One of the richest episodes to date. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Black History month is in February because of 2 prominent birthdays in February—Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. 
  • Drive D&I conversations all year round. 
  • Safe spaces aren’t just for the trendy voices. 
  • Repeated exposure to stimulus creates learning. 
  • Listen for the other person’s lens; listen outside of your shoes. 
  • Everybody has so many identities. 
  • Search for people’s “why”.
  • Know the goodness that everyone has been a part of on both sides.

LaToya Lyn is an HR leader with a deep passion for people within the workplace. 

LaToya has a dual masters in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior from Brooklyn College. Her professional experience spans from executive coaching to driving organizational changes and culture transformations for technology companies globally. She has contributed to the world of cognitive neuroscience, including adult learning theories, and animal research. 

LaToya is also a four-time National DisruptHR presenter, GoCoach, and ThinkHuman reoccurring contributor. She is also a recent Harvard University and MIT executive coaching and artificial intelligence professional. 

Growing, A Celebration

Growing up is always a celebration. It was always something that we thought through like a plan. We have monthly assembly, or someone’s doing like African dancing. Maybe someone is reciting a poem from Langston Hughes and singing “Lift Every Voice,” the black national anthem. When I think about black history month and how it works, it’s important for us to keep that connected spirit and stay aligned when it comes to the bigger picture—how we think about black history in general.

I always said that Black history month is history. It is highlighting and focusing all of us in one time of the year. – LaToya Lyn #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Comfortable Conversations

I think Oscar is one of the most forward-thinking companies when it comes to diversity and to having actual conversations in the room. There’s obviously a lot of work to do, but there’s been a lot of efforts from our leadership team, which in some ways makes my job pretty easy. I can just bring up a topic and it’s spoken about and heard. Then, a lot of questions come back, like “What do I need to do differently?” or “How do I think about that?” or “Oh I’m going to go ahead, think about these things, and come back to you.” I think it’s really great when it comes to that, especially for the members being served. It’s super important that every company spends a lot of time, allowing space and being able to drive these types of conversations. Also, not only talking about black history once a year, or during the month of February, but talking about it all the time, which my company absolutely does. It’s like they make [diversity] in front of a business standpoint. Because every other companies can’t do it, this is a reason why we have issues like a vicious cycle. A lot of companies should think about how to have conversations in a comfortable way, and not feeling like they’re in threat.

A lot of companies should think about how to have conversations in a comfortable way, and not feeling like they're in threat. – LaToya Lyn #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

When I think about like history, it's not just about pain. It's also a really fun time. We also need to remember our history for that. – LaToya Lyn #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Self-care, An Activism

I have a new activism I’m doing. I started, a few months back, an activism on myself. That means I’m taking care of myself. Self-care is a priority and that is a form of activism. Making sure that my mind body and soul is healthy, that my family is grounded, and all of those things are a priority in my life. Whenever we have a moment where folks really need to think very deeply about why and how people need to do this is really about self-care. That is the center of my life and a very rich form of activism. Anyone out there who is considering working out as a priority, or like a treat now, those are all the things you need to do—working out, eating right, drinking a lot of water, being very balanced, having quiet time at least 15 to 20 minutes a day for yourself to regroup, rethink, even going out, and hugging their family could be a recharge as well. This is so important to be able to continue on, push forward, and be in these spaces where there’s not a lot people that look like us.

Going back to black history month is about being curious. I think that will help people lean in a little bit more. – LaToya Lyn #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

If you're not putting a position to be in a different environment or a different sort of stimulus to kind of get you there, then you are going to have a bias. – LaToya Lyn #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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